A new Bucky celebrates 175 years, honors UW–Madison’s past, present, and future

By Kari Dickinson, photos by Sarah Maughan and Sirtaj Grewal

On July 26, a new Bucky on Parade statue, “Honor the Air, Land, and Water,” will debut at the Memorial Union kicking off UW–Madison’s 175th Anniversary celebration. The statue, featuring iconography that represents the university’s past, present, and future, was painted by Art Professor John Hitchcock, with assistance from UW–Madison student Kaylee Herrmann, an undergraduate with the Art Department. 

Hitchcock says he considered “the importance of place, being grounded in oneself, and our quest to discover more about who we are as a people” in developing this new work.  

Check out the photos below to witness the transformation of a blank Bucky statue into an artistic masterpiece. 

John Hitchcock and Kaylee Herrmann wash a blank white Bucky statue.
In late May, Bucky was delivered to Hitchcock’s studio in the UW–Madison Art Lofts. The first step was to thoroughly wash the statue to prepare it for painting.


John Hitchcock and Kaylee Herrmann create prints.
Before they got to work painting Bucky, Hitchcock and Herrmann used printmaking and drawing to research and arrive at the final design.


John Hitchcock and Kaylee Herrmann paint a Bucky statue bright red.
Three coats of red and white acrylic paint make up the base of the statue, mostly applied with rollers. “I feel like this was the most time-consuming part,” says Herrmann.


John Hitchcock uses a marker to draw silver "x's" on a Bucky statue.
The black and silver lines and “Xs” that make up the background of the statue reference time and history, says Hitchcock. “The X is the unknown. The X keeps track of time and the quest for knowledge marking our accomplishments. I am also thinking about our ability to affect our planet.”


Kaylee Herrmann draws large stars using black marker on a Bucky statue.
Stars also adorn the statue. “The star is a reference to the many people who have passed through this area we call Teejope,” says Hitchcock. The four points signal the cardinal directions — north, south, east, and west — and serve as a metaphor for how people have moved in and through and beyond this place.


John Hitchcock draws fine details on the Bucky on Parade statue he is designing.
“As an artist, I am continually asking questions about our society and the importance of how we contribute to progress and our future together,” says Hitchcock. “As a professor, I have worked to honor and assist students through teaching art and serving as an administrator in leadership roles for the past 22 years.”


The base of the Bucky statue, with multi-colored dots representing a flower garden.
On the bottom of the statue is an abstract representation of a flower garden, featuring bright shades of blue, purple, and green. White is also included, representing Wisconsin’s state flower — the wood violet.


John Hitchcock and Kaylee Herrmann stand with their finished Bucky statue.
Hitchcock and Herrmann stand with the finished statue. You can see their Bucky debut at UW–Madison’s
175th Anniversary Launch Celebration on Wednesday, July 26!


Bucky on Parade statue by John Hitchcock, with assistance from Kaylee Herrmann.
“Honor the Air, Land, and Water”

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